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Four Boxes (2009)

R | | Thriller | May 2009 (USA)
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Trevor Grainger, Amber Croft and Rob Rankus are three, like, average dudes who run Go Time Liquidators - an eBay auction business. Trevor likes Stephen King, Amber wants to be a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Amber Croft
Sam Rosen ...
Rob Rankrus
Bain Boehlke ...
Neighbor
David Tufford ...
Bill Zill
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Storyline

Trevor Grainger, Amber Croft and Rob Rankus are three, like, average dudes who run Go Time Liquidators - an eBay auction business. Trevor likes Stephen King, Amber wants to be a singer-songwriter, and Rob's into the Chili Peppers. Amber used to date Trevor but now she's going to marry Rob. They read the obituaries in order to find things they can turn into money on the internet. Pretty soon they end up in the destroyed house of a dead dude named Bill Zill, and they're also seriously obsessing over watching a surveillance-cam website called fourboxes.tv. Fourboxes.tv is a dusty, digital window into the wacked-out world of a creep they call Havoc. Havoc didn't know his apartment was wired up when he moved in. And he's weird. He sleeps in a bat-cage, builds bombs in a dungeon, and looks like he's planning to kill people on a seriously massive scale. Trevor, Amber and Rob decide they have to do something to find and stop Havoc, wherever he is. Or...maybe not - they could just keep ... Written by M. Osbourne

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Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality
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May 2009 (USA)  »

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Soundtracks

Twenty Two Fourteen
Written by James Lavalle
Performed by The Album Leaf
Published by Songs Music Publishing LLC O/B/O Ram Island Songs (ASCAP) and Album Leaf Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Sub Pop Records
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User Reviews

 
A truly daring and ingeniously original thriller
14 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Four Boxes requires a lot of patience, but it's well worth the investment of your time. A little less than an hour into this film, I was sitting here asking myself - not for the first time - why I was watching such a boring and pointless movie. Then, all of a sudden, everything changed, and Four Boxes reached right out and grabbed me. In just a few shocking seconds of revelation, the filmmakers press all of the buttons for suspense and horror. It's instant brilliance, in my opinion. Then, having cinematically punched you in the face, the filmmakers follow that up with another surprising slap across the chops that completely re-frames what you just saw. Then, determined not to fall back on any conventionality, these guys deliver a decidedly weird and unexpected ending. There's more originality and daring filmmaking in this low budget, independent film's final twenty-five minutes than you could possibly scrape up across all of Hollywood.

The first two thirds of this movie seems like an exercise in futility about three characters living lives of quiet desperation. Trevor Grainger (Justin Kirk) and Rob Rankus (Sam Rosen) are two exceedingly average guys who supplement their incomes by acquiring the possessions of dead loners and selling them on EBAY. As they temporarily move in to clean out the house of the late Bill Zill, they're joined by Amber Croft (Terryn Westbrook), a girl who used to date Trevor but is now engaged to Rob. Apart from some love triangle friction, there isn't much going on here at all. Zill was apparently a pretty weird dude, though, who seemingly left behind some cryptic clues about something. For the most part, though, our characters spend a lot of time watching this little web site Rob discovered called Four Boxes. As he explains it, the site began with a woman broadcasting live video feeds from four different rooms in her home; then she moved out, leaving the cameras in place. The new tenant, a seriously weird dude the friends nickname "Havoc," apparently has no idea that his personal life is being broadcast all over the Internet. He sleeps in a bat-cage, frequently dons a gas mask, and seems to be making more than a few bombs. The question our characters face is whether or not what they are seeing is actually real and, if so, what - if anything - they should do about it. All of that just serves to set up the real meat of the story, though - and I'm not going to give anything away as far as that is concerned.

Some people are going to give up on this movie before it delivers its impressive payload. The characters are rather pathetic, uninteresting, and downright depressing, making it hard to care what might happen to any of them. You may think you're watching the worst movie ever made, but I'm telling you to hang in there. When the you-know-what hits the fan, you're going to want to be there. Four Boxes - made for a mere forty thousand dollars, is billed as "part thriller, part dark comedy, part social satire" - and, in the end, it is all of that and more.


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